In January 2021, Speakers for Schools and the Perceptions of Nursing team who work with NHS England and NHS Improvement teamed up to show young people what a career in nursing is actually like. Together we have opened the door for over 1,350 young people to find out more about nursing through virtual work experience. Alongside the work experience placements and insight days, we are also hosting inspirational talks from the likes of:
Professor Dame Donna Kinnair DBE, Chief Executive and General Secretary of Royal College of Nursing,
Patrick Nayarumbu, Director of Strategy, People and Partnerships at Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and founder of the BME Men in Nursing Group
Emma Wadey, Head of Mental Health Nursing for NHS England and NHS Improvement.
Nurses serve our communities through many different ways, from bedside treatment, mental health support, operating theatres, infection control, holistic treatment and more. And the variety of roles within nursing requires a huge diversity in skills – from using cutting edge technology to leading teams during a crisis. But do young people know that? Experience Nursing looks to open the door to nursing and reveal what this career really involves and challenge misconceptions that might exist.
The insight days are run by expert nurses who volunteer their time to meet young, inquiring minds. The nurses aim to demystify their careers and highlight the technical skill and varied work that is involved. The partnership also hopes to introduce nursing to men, and in particular from ethnic minority communities and has been aided by the support of the BME Men in Nursing Group.
The placements started in January 2021 and already we have seen some promising feedback from the students that took part. 100% of students said they felt more informed about nursing after their insight day and 86% would now consider a career in nursing.
Demystifying nursing caught the attention of our young people and they were surprised to learn that you could specialise in different fields including mental health, learning disabilities, adult and children nursing. One student told us: ‘It has successfully solved my worries about nursing and has given me a range of options of which type of nursing I can do. It has taught me that every day as a nurse will be different which excites me and makes me more and more motivated to work harder to be part of the NHS.’
Thanks to the nurse ambassadors, who took time out of their exceptionally busy schedules, young people got a deeper insight into their world and found out that ‘they do more than just check a patient’s temperature, they become a part of the patient’s extended family.’ They went on to say that ‘Nurses have a lot of responsibility and they are a very vital part of our NHS.’
Jabu Chikore, a mental health nurse, took part in one of the insight days and found the experience particularly motivating for him, he said ‘I thought I would just explain what I do in my job but actually the young people were really engaged and asked good questions that showed their interest in what we do. It was a good opportunity to reminisce about my time as well. I found the experience quite an eye-opener and was impressed with the level of focus and maturity demonstrated by the young people. Whilst we are so busy in our work, it was really refreshing to see young people get excited and inspired by what we do every day. I would recommend my colleagues get involved in this programme to inspire more young people to join our teams.’
Experience Nursing has been vital to open the minds of young people and provide them with access to work experience placements not often available to them. 49% of those who took part said they wouldn’t have had access to an NHS placement without this opportunity. Thanks to the Perceptions of Nursing team, NHS England and NHS Improvement, we have introduced over 1350 young people to the possibility of a career in nursing.